What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a common dental restoration for patients who are missing one or more teeth. Dental implants are titanium screws that are placed in the bone of the mouth to simulate a natural tooth’s root. This implant is then left in the bone to heal for several months, allowing the patient's surrounding bone to incorporate with the titanium and help it actually become part of the bone through the process of osseointegration. Implants serve as functional tooth replacements that look, feel, and act like real teeth.
Dental implants have two very common uses. When patients are missing a single tooth, or several teeth, they may consider dental implants in order to fill the gap that is left by the extracted or lost tooth. This may be for cosmetic reasons, or because of decreased chewing efficiency. If front teeth are missing, it can be used to address speech problems related to the missing tooth or teeth. The dental implant is placed in the bone, and after osseointegration, it is covered with a dental crown so that it appears as a natural tooth. It has the strength and solidity of a natural tooth as well, since it is deep-rooted into the bone for stability.
Dental implants can also be used in conjunction with dentures. For patients that are missing an entire arch of teeth from age, periodontal disease, or other situations, dentures alone may be troublesome. Sometimes patients will complain of the fit, or that they slip and shift while chewing. Other patients may use dental adhesives but still find their dentures don’t have the stability they're hoping for. Dental implants can be placed in the bone and used to help the dentures "snap" into place. This makes them stay where they need to, and can provide the ultimate in strength and durability.